Previous reports have shown that gastrointestinal epithelial cells produce insulin-like growth factor-binding proteins (IGF-BP), which modulate the actions of IGF. This study aims to examine the relationship between differentiation and IGF-BP secretion by human intestinal epithelial cells and the effect of growth factors on their production. Caco-2 cells were cultured in serum-free media. IGF-BP secretion into the incubation media was analyzed by Western ligand blotting and immunoblotting. Caco-2 cells produced IGF-BP-2, IGF-BP-3, and IGF-BP-4. Secretion of IGF-BP-2 and IGF-BP-3 increased with differentiation, but IGF-BP-4 secretion diminished. The effect of exogenous growth factors on IGF-BP secretion was maximal at earlier stages of differentiation. IGF-I stimulated mainly IGF-BP-3 production, but epidermal growth factor (EGF) and transforming growth factor-alpha (TGF-alpha) stimulated predominantly IGF-BP-4 secretion. Adding an anti-EGF receptor antibody to block autocrine TGF-alpha activity inhibited IGF-BP-4 production but stimulated IGF-BP-2 and IGF-BP-3. In conclusion, the profile of IGF-BP secretion changes with differentiation. IGF-I and EGF (or TGF-alpha) stimulate different types of IGF-BP, with autocrine TGF-alpha activity being a factor affecting IGF-BP production during differentiation.